One of the most effective treatments for cancerous tumors is radiotherapy in which doses of ionizing radiation are used to target, control and/or destroy malignant cells while minimizing damage to surrounding cells and tissue. A very large portion of patients who get cancer receive radiation as part of their treatment plans.
However, not every cancer patient is a suitable candidate for this type of treatment. Certain factors are considered by your doctor before recommending radiation therapy. These include:
- Your age, health status, and previous medical conditions. For example, if you are pregnant, elderly and infirm, you may not be able to withstand the intensity and potential side effects of radiation therapy. Your doctor will consider these factors when determining if your body can take radiation treatment.
- The stage of your cancer. Radiation is a great treatment for a lot of patients, but it’s not for every stage of cancer. In some cases, if cancer has spread beyond localized parts of the body, radiation may not be recommended. Your doctor may recommend radiation as the primary treatment for cancer, to shrink a tumor before surgery, after surgery to prevent the growth of remaining cancer cells, or in combination with other treatments (e.g. chemotherapy), depending on the type and stage of your cancer.
- The location of the primary tumor and whether its cells are radiosensitive. Radiation therapy is most successful when a tumor is contained, easily accessible, and situated away from major organs in the body. Although radiation can be directed from various angles to increase the effectiveness of the treatment, the rest of the body should be protected to avoid damaging healthy areas.
- Whether radiation therapy is preferable to surgery. This may be the case if you have a preexisting condition that makes surgery impossible or if a surgical procedure would require the removal of part or all of a vital organ. In situations like these, radiation therapy can target and kill cancer cells when surgery is not an appropriate procedure.
Even if you are deemed a good candidate for radiation therapy, the procedure can be a long, unpleasant, and tiring process if you undergo conventional radiation treatments. Fortunately, there is an alternative just as effective that provides a solution to many of these problems.
CyberKnife® treatment, also called the Beam of Life, is a safe, comfortable, noninvasive form of radiotherapy that has distinctive advantages over traditional radiation treatments. For example, CyberKnife uses a robotic arm to deliver high doses of radiation so precise that it destroys cancer cells without endangering the tissue or organs that surround the tumor. CyberKnife technology automatically adjusts to even the slightest movements, focusing solely on its target.
Unlike traditional radiotherapy, which involves low doses of radiation dispensed during multiple, drawn-out sessions that may span weeks, if not months, CyberKnife’s powerful and accurate dosage requires just five, 30-60-minute sessions that is often completed in as little as one week. There is no recovery time, so you can have your treatment and immediately get back to your normal activities. Also, there are few, if any, of the usual side effects associated with conventional radiation therapy. It is the most advanced, concentrated form of radiation therapy currently available.
For more than 30 years, CyberKnife has enabled many patients diagnosed with cancer to receive effective radiation therapy they might have otherwise been denied. To learn more about this revolutionary technology – and whether you are a suitable candidate – contact the CyberKnife Center of Miami at (800) 205-455 or (305) 279-2900. You can also visit us online or request a consultation online by filling out our convenient .